Reviewer: Lori Graham
Title: Book One – Mystery at Discovery Lake / Book Two – Sydney’s D.C. Discovery
Author: Renae Brumbaug (book one) and Jean Fischer (book two)
ISBN-13: #1 – 978-1-60260-267-0 and #2 – 978-1-60260-268-7
Release Date: January 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Youth Inspirational Historical Fiction
Publisher’s Age/Grade Recommendation: Ages 8-12
OUAR’s Age/Grade Recommendation: Ages 9-12
Year/Setting: Present day
Overall Rating: 4.0
Renae and Jean's Website/Blog: www.renaebrumbaugh.com | jeanfischer.blogspot.com
Mystery at Discovery Lake is the first book in what is a 24 planned book series and introduces the girls who name themselves Camp Club Girls. Elizabeth, Alexis, Bailey, Sydney, McKenzie and Kate are different ages and from different backgrounds. However, they all attend the same camp and are assigned Cabin 12B. At camp, there are many activities to keep them busy – from horseback riding to crafts to Bible verse competitions. Even with all of this though, these girls find time to investigate a decades old mystery and befriend a little dog along the way.
Sydney’s D.C. Discovery takes place back in Washington D.C. at Sydney’s home. Elizabeth visits her in D.C. when she travels with her uncle who is a Vietnam Vet coming to town for a reunion. Sydney’s aunt worked at the Vietnam Vet Memorial Wall so could give them the full tour. The mystery here begins when graffiti is found at the Wall. The girls quickly discover additional clues that travel from the Wall to Fort Henry.
One of my first loves as a tween myself was the Nancy Drew Series. Nancy and her exploits kept me entertained for many hours. When I first started reading the Camp Club series, I have to admit I struggled a bit. I say that because I had forgotten what it was to be a young girl looking for adventure. Don’t get me wrong I have read many YA books both from a reviewing and editing standpoint so I understood that but most of them were based on the older ages. Even my own daughter is older than what this book is geared for so I had lost that reference point. So, I stopped reading because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. Then I spent time with my niece who is in this age and suddenly it all came back. I couldn’t wait to get to the library each Saturday to stock up on more of stories just like these. From an adult standpoint, no…they aren’t hugely realistic but I remembered how we tried so hard to seem older at that age. Given a new reference point, I finished these books in one night each.
The relationship that develops between the girls is refreshing because they aren’t seeing each other’s differences but bonding based on what they have in common. These books show a wholesome freshness and yet they have an edge with the mysteries the girls are solving. There are wonderful secondary characters who provide the clues for them and villains who truly do wrap up the mystery with some tension (but won’t keep the reader up nights).
I truly enjoyed the trip back in time as I read Renae and Jean’s stories and would recommend them to your tween. You might even want to take some steps back into your own childhood and read them along with this young lady. What a great way to spend some time together!
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